Wednesday, April 11, 2018
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has announced that it has lifted a weight restriction put in place in February for vehicles crossing the Route 133 (Main Street) bridge over the Essex River, meaning that five-axle vehicles up to 36 tons are now permitted to use the bridge, in addition to three-axle vehicles up to 25 tons and two-axle vehicles up to 20 tons. Therefore, passenger and commercial vehicles that meet statutory weight limits can utilize this bridge structure.
Overweight trucks that would already require an overweight permit should follow the standard permitting procedure. These overweight vehicles may be impacted and prevented from traveling across this bridge.
In February, the bridge was weight restricted after an inspection determined that action was needed due to the conditions of the external bridge beams. MassDOT crews and contractors then carried out repair operations on the bridge, and last week, installed traffic barriers on the outside edges of the travel lanes over the bridge to move traffic away from specific areas.
These measures have enabled the weight limit to be revised so the bridge can continue to safely carry vehicles that meet legal weight limits. MassDOT is also in the preliminary design stages for a project to replace this bridge, and funding and design specifications regarding this project are currently being developed.
New roadway signs notifying the public of these revised weight restrictions have been put in place in the area of the bridge. These signs clarify that the revised weight limit is as follows:
• Two-axle vehicle: 20 tons
• Three-axle vehicle: 25 tons
• Five axle vehicle: 36 tons.
Electronic message boards notifying drivers of the revised restrictions have also temporarily been placed on Route 133 near Route 128 in Gloucester and on Route 1A in Rowley.